Yuri Tynianov

Yuri Tynianov (1894–1943) was a major literary theorist, literary historian, and prose writer. Tynianov’s purview as a scholar covers literary history, poetics, and film; his contributions to theory can be condensed into a number of key concepts, of which “literary evolution” is perhaps the most all-encompassing. Tynianov shows that any literary “fact,” and literature (or film) itself, is a mutable, dynamic entity, existing simultaneously in multiple complex systems, the elements of which are constantly interacting (and changing through interaction) with those of other systems: the internal system of a given work, the system of a genre, the system of a literary or artistic movement, of a national literature, et cetera. With the forced dismantling of the Formalist school in 1930, Tynianov largely withdrew from literary scholarship and devoted his efforts to writing historical fiction. He died, of complications from multiple sclerosis, in Moscow in 1943.